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The Eels return to home comforts having put their season firmly back on track by exorcising their Canberra hoodoo with a demolition job on title rivals the Raiders.

Parramatta, stung by their 26-12 round five upset at the hands of the Dragons, grabbed a share of second place by running away in the second half to record their first win in the national capital since 2006.

Off-season recruit Isaiah Papali'i scored his fourth (running over his namesake Josh) and fifth tries to spark the win and cement his status as one of the buys of 2021 so far.

And halfback Mitch Moses was in everything, his kicking game masterful and a constant threat with ball in hand.

Brisbane, meanwhile, looked like they had turned their season around when on course to upset the unbeaten Panthers on Thursday night only for Penrith skipper Nathan Cleary to snatch victory from their grasp.

Eels v Broncos

The rundown

Team news

Eels: The Eels will start 1-17 with Haze Dunster the 18th man. Keegan Hipgrave was the last player to be left out.

Dylan Brown will return from suspension at five-eighth so Will Smith has moved to the interchange bench with Keegan Hipgrave on the reserves list.

Back-rower Ryan Matterson (concussion) was again a late withdrawal in round six and while the club is working hard to bring him back coach Brad Arthur has reiterated Matterson's health and safety was the Eels' priority.

Matterson and Jordan Rankin were trimmed from the reserves list 24 hours before kick-off.

The Eels have won five of their six games at Darwin’s TIO Stadium.

Broncos: Brisbane will start 1-17 with Rhys Kennedy the 18th man. Tyson Gamble was omitted an hour before the match.

Centre Herbie Farnworth returns from a shoulder injury and new hooker recruit Danny Levi comes straight into the side on the interchange bench.

Levi joined the club on Tuesday for the remainder of 2021 after starting the year with the Broncos' affiliate club Norths Devils.

In a further boost for Brisbane, Kotoni Staggs's rehabilitation is ahead of schedule and he could be back in action as soon as Magic Round next month.

John Asiata and Jesse Arthars were omitted from the extended bench on Thursday night.

The Broncos have lost their past 12 games away from home.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
    Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Jamayne Isaako
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
    Winger for Broncos is number 2 Xavier Coates
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Tom Opacic
    Centre for Broncos is number 3 Herbie Farnworth
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Marata Niukore
    Centre for Broncos is number 4 David Mead
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
    Winger for Broncos is number 5 Corey Oates
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
    Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Brodie Croft
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Tom Dearden

Forwards

  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    Prop for Broncos is number 8 Matthew Lodge
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
    Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake Turpin
  • Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
    Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Tevita Pangai Junior
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 17 Jordan Riki
  • Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
    Lock for Broncos is number 13 Patrick Carrigan

Interchange

  • Interchange for Eels is number 14 Oregon Kaufusi
    Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Danny Levi
  • Interchange for Eels is number 15 Will Smith
    Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Thomas Flegler
  • Interchange for Eels is number 16 Wiremu Greig
    Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Ethan Bullemor
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Bryce Cartwright
    Interchange for Broncos is number 18 Rhys Kennedy

Reserves

  • Reserve for Eels is number 18 Haze Dunster
    Reserve for Broncos is number 19 Tyson Gamble

Match Officials

  • Referee: Grant Atkins
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Touch Judge: Darian Furner
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Clint Gutherson v Jamayne Isaako: The fullbacks are 1-2 in kick return metres after six rounds. The man they call The King has kept a lower profile in 2021 but is still one of the better fullbacks in the competition. Gutherson's defence has been superb and he is still making his presence felt in attack with three tries and three try assists.

Isaako was one of the few bright spots for Brisbane as they struggled through the opening four rounds. With the Broncos playmakers, and therefore Brisbane's attack, lacking a cutting edge Isaako worked hard to provide some sort of threat. 

Stat attack

Wingers Blake Ferguson and Xavier Coates have been taking Eels and Broncos fans on a rollercoaster ride in 2021. Ferguson (12) and Coates (11) are No.1 and No.2 for handling errors while also ranking in the top 10 for tries - Coates 5th (six tries) and Ferguson eighth (five).

 

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